K'NEX, America's Building Toy™ will continue its quest for future thrill ride innovators, expanding the Great Thrill Ride Build-Off competition this year to include three Cedar Fair parks. Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom is proud to join Cedar Point and Valleyfair Amusement Parks is hosting this year's contest. The contest is open to all classrooms and student groups in grades 6-12 and will run through April 8. Students are challenged to build an original, functional amusement park ride solely from K'NEX parts and explain the scientific principles that affect its operation. The contest encourages students to apply what they've learned about potential and kinetic energy, speed, acceleration, gravity and rotational motion to their creations. One winning K'NEX model will be displayed at each of the three participating parks: Cedar Point amusement park resort in Sandusky, Ohio, home to parent company Cedar Fair's corporate headquarters; Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pa.; and Valleyfair Amusement Park in Shakopee, Minn. The displays will be featured among many educational activities during May, when all three parks are transformed into virtual classrooms for school groups, and throughout the 2013 season.
"These exhibits showcase the amazing creations that can be achieved when science is combined with creativity," said Rob Decker, Cedar Fair's corporate vice president of planning and design. "We always look forward to seeing what the next generation of engineers will invent. With determination and a focus on math, science, engineering and technology, these students may even work for our amusement parks someday."
A select group of K'NEX designers and ride engineers at each of the three parks will choose the winners based on creativity, uniqueness, structural stability and the accuracy of detail provided in the students' essay. Each winning classroom will receive tickets to one of the three participating parks. Winning classrooms will also receive a K'NEX building set for each child and store credit for additional K'NEX materials.
One of the three winning models will be chosen as the Fan Favorite through an online vote. The classroom whose model is selected as the Fan Favorite will receive an additional prize package that includes a behind-the-scenes tour with a park engineer, additional K'NEX educational sets and the opportunity to tour the K'NEX headquarters in Hatfield, Pa.
Nearly 100 classrooms participated in the 2012 competition with Cedar Point, representing schools from 20 states – almost double the number of competitors who entered in the inaugural contest. "The Great Thrill Ride Build-off allows students to mesh their creative skills with the principles of math and science," said K'NEX President and CEO Michael Araten. "Partnering with these outstanding Cedar Fair amusement parks allows us to provide a challenging and fun learning experience to even more students around the country. I can't wait to see what they come up with."
To enter, school groups must submit a 500-600 word description as well as a video and photos of the ride. Class or student groups can register by logging on to: http://www.knex.com/News_and_Events/Thrill-Ride-Build-Off-2013.php .
For more information regarding the K'NEX Great Thrill Ride Build-Off, visit the Dorney http://www.dorneypark.com/  or 'KNEX http://www.knex.com/  website. You can also receive updates throughout the duration of the contest on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dorneypark  or www.facebook.com/buildknex .